Lessons from university

It’s homecoming weekend for Western, and my second year as an alumna. Although this time of year is usually associated with partying, I can say the closest thing I’ve done to that is go out for dinner during that weekend. Tonight, I’m staying in and watching Harry Potter movies with my boyfriend.

I’m not even wearing a purple shirt right now.

Emily Stewart wearing a black hoodie with a UWO logo
Just because I’m not purple, it doesn’t mean I don’t have spirit

Relax, I’m wearing a sweater with the old logo, and a tank top  representing a wonderful program called MIT (Media, Information, and Technoculture). That was my major in university, along with writing and film courses on top of it.

I’ve seen a lot of posts saying education doesn’t teach you about life, and I’ve heard many comments saying Liberal Arts degrees don’t get you anywhere.

I’m here to tell you, that’s not necessarily true. Most of my time in university was spent on my work, and I’ve discovered a lot of lessons that apply outside of the classroom and I’d say are a lot of skills you need post-school.

Stay organized

Agendas give you more in life than free pizza coupons. When times get busy, they can be especially handy.

As a writer, I have to use one to schedule interviews, and to write down deadlines. Calendars work just as well.

Life can get so crazy busy, you feel like you don’t have time to breathe. This is where organizing yourself comes in handy. You’ll know which nights you can afford to go out with your friends, and which ones should probably spent at the library.

Everyone has their own problems in life

It drives me crazy when people compare programs, financial status, jobs (or lack of) on top of it, and other factors.  Sometimes, it felt like a competition for who has it the hardest.

“You think you’re swamped with work? I have (X) exams to study for and (X) papers to write!”

“How are these people going to survive when their parents pay for everything?”

“How are students broke? They spend (X amount of money) on (insert pricey item here)!”

Just stop, ok? Everyone is stressed out when they feel like they have too many assignments. Just because people live with their families during school, doesn’t mean they have it easy, and lets be serious, who isn’t worried about money?

You can feel sorry for your classmates, and offer support. Really, we should all do this, because  at the end of the day, we’re a bunch of stressed, broke students who are wondering if we’re ever going to be okay as an adult.

Every generation is messed up, in their own way

I actually learned a lot about American history by studying film in university. Simply put, every film reflects concerns and attitudes that went on at the time.

In a nutshell, every generation were worried about the trouble teens would get involved with. Maybe they weren’t taking selfies in dangerous places, but they were still trying to change things from how they were when their parents were their age.

Take care of yourself

Another piece of advice I need to follow, but it goes along with handling stress. Sometimes, when you feel overwhelmed, nutrition’s not a top priority, and you’ll eat whatever just to make sure something’s in your stomach. You may also not feel the need to exercise.

I’m feeling this way lately, but I know better. Making sure you are eating well and exercising can help reduce stress, and make you feel happier. If you’re feeling off lately, perhaps this is step one.

Your group of friends change over time, and that’s OK

I still see my high school friends from time to time, although some of my closest friends, boyfriend included, are from that group. The benefit of being in a much smaller program in college is meeting a lot of people who you see pretty much every day over two years.

Although I’ve met more people than I could have imagined in university, who I was hanging out with the most changed over time. MIT is a pretty broad definition, to the point where I first had a hard time explaining it, because many students branch off in different directions.

That’s completely okay too, because you meet a wide variety of people who share the same interests as you.

You will find yourself

In a weird way, I found myself again at university. Growing up, I was the weird kid who liked playing Pokemon and reading manga. Guess what I’m doing in my 20s?

I’ve gained more appreciation for anime, after taking a course on it. I realized how much thought is actually put into the storyline. A similar thing happened when I took a course on Superhero cinema. I went from someone who didn’t see those movies, to someone who usually sees them right when they come out.

Taking a variety of writing courses made me realize how much I love the craft. Having two pieces of paper that officially declare me as a pop-culture nerd who likes to write is pretty fantastic.

When in doubt, coffee break

Yes, campus food is expensive, but a bagel and a coffee will always be around $5, if not, less. Anytime you feel gross and hungry, grab it.

What were some lessons you learned in university?


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